Full Court Basketball Game

Basketball Full Court

Many fans of basketball will have heard the terms “full-court” and “half-court,” but what is the difference between a full-court and a half-court basketball game? Here, we will go over the definition of a full-court basketball game, breaking down how these games work, listing their basic rules, and discussing where full-court basketball is played.

What Is a Full-Court Basketball Game?

A full-court basketball game is one played across the entire basketball court. The full court in basketball refers to the whole basketball court, from one baseline to the other. A full-size basketball court is 94 feet by 50 feet. It is divided by a half-court line along its center.

Overall, the phrase “full-court” may refer both to a basketball court itself or a pickup game that uses a full court. Both uses are well-known by frequent players of the game. Finally, the term “full-court” is also associated with the full-court press, a defensive tactic teams use to try and force turnovers in the backcourt.

Difference Between Half-Court and Full-Court Basketball

When playing pickup games in a park, gym, or other public space, it is customary to ask whether the game will be “half-court” or “full-court.” A half-court game utilizes only half of the court, with the midcourt line serving as a boundary for the playing surface. Half-court games are common because they allow two games to fit on the same full court at once.

Number of Players

Three-on-three pickup games are usually played on a half court, while five-on-five games are usually on a full court. This gives more room for a three-on-three game to operate without tiring people out, while five-on-five matchups almost always need a full court to operate smoothly.

Full-Court Basketball Rules

Here are the basic rules of full-court basketball:

  • Teams have five players.
  • Each team defends one basket, which their opponents attempt to shoot the ball into.
  • Shots made from inside the three-point line are worth two points; shots made behind it are worth three points.
  • Shooting fouls are punished with foul shots, which are worth one point each if made.
  • Once a team takes possession, the ball must be advanced across the center line within a certain amount of time (8 seconds in the NBA and 10 seconds in NCAA basketball).
  • A team must shoot the ball before the shot clock runs out, or they will lose possession.
  • One or more referees are often used to enforce the rules.

Full-Court Basketball Positions

Since full-court basketball games are typically played five-on-five, they will often include the common positions seen in a professional basketball game. These positions are:

Where Is Full-Court Basketball Used?

Full-court basketball is used in almost every major basketball league. As the standard form of professional basketball, full-court games are the most common type of basketball you will see on television or in person, whereas half-court games are typically played recreationally.

Among the many leagues where full-court basketball is played are the National Basketball Association (NBA), the NBA G League, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and the American Basketball Association (ABA) in the United States. Around the world, major full-court basketball leagues include the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), the German Bundesliga (BBL), the French LNB Pro A and B, the British Basketball League, and the Australian National Basketball League (NBL).


What is a full-court basketball game?

A full-court basketball game is one played across the entire regulation playing surface. In a full-court game, each team defends a basket on opposite ends of the court. A full-court game is different from a half-court game, as in a half-court game, only half of a regulation court is used, and both teams score on the same basket.

What are the rules of a full-court basketball game?

In a full-court basketball game, each team has five players and scores points by shooting the ball into the basket that their opponent defends. Field goals are worth two points if made from inside the three-point line and worth three points if made behind it. Shooting fouls are punished by free throws for the affected team, which are worth one point each if made. Teams must shoot the ball before the shot clock runs out, or they will lose possession.